PopulationMetro: 441,724
An arts and music city with uncommon spirit and smarts, Asheville is nothing less than awesome.

Nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains—and with spectacular views of both—Asheville celebrates its bohemian spirit and artsy roots year-round, with events, festivals and good times that rank it Top 5 for Programming in the country.

In 2018, glass artist Dale Chihuly’s monumental color and vividly Instagrammable sculptures come to the interiors and grounds of the grand Biltmore House. Glass runs deep in Asheville; quartz-rich mountains gave artists plentiful materials. Additionally, a new greenway network is taking shape as part of the continued revitalization of the city’s River Arts District.

“We believe that music attracts visitors — and can attract more visitors — and enrich their experiences here.” – Stephanie Brown, President & CEO of Asheville CVB

Asheville is also a launching pad for musicians, offering what artists of all ages crave in a city—affordability, nightlife and locally crafted beer. Live music born of the region’s bluegrass roots harmonizes with new talent and innovative sounds to the tune of $383 million in the region’s tourism economy, according to the Economic Development Coalition.

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With more breweries per capita (25 or so) than any other American city, Asheville calls itself “Beer City USA,” with a food scene to match, under the esteemed tutelage of James Beard nominees Katie Button at Cúrate and Nightbell, John Fleer at Rhubarb and Elliott Moss at Buxton Hall Barbecue.

But Asheville works for its supper. Satellite campuses of University of North Carolina at Asheville as well as Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College nurture a community for entrepreneurs and creative spirits. The county is also in the forefront of the national effort to pursue climate science: engineers and scientists at The Collider, Asheville’s newly opened climate innovation center, are defining the future of urban resilience for cities.